Councils urged to come up with people-centred budgets
RURAL District Councils (RDCs) have been challenged to come up with inclusive budgets that are people-centred to ensure the development of the country.
The Minister of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage, Cde Abedinico Ncube, said people must be engaged on matters that concern their livelihoods.
Speaking at a two-day 2017 budget seminar for all RDCs in the country in Bulawayo yesterday, Cde Ncube said citizen engagement was key to development.
“As you are aware, the Government is spearheading a more inclusive approach towards citizen engagement through various social accountability mechanisms. You will agree that people centered budgets are the cornerstone to local economic development,” said Cde Ncube. “Local authorities must innovatively engage citizens on matters that concern the citizen livelihoods. Budget consultations meetings are one of the many ways to engage with residents.”
The Minister said participatory governance is the way to improved and sustainable service delivery as it affords citizens an opportunity to participate in decision making on matters that affect them.
He said he was aware that there are some local authorities that were not taking citizen engagement seriously.
Such local authorities only engaged residents during budget consultation meetings so as to get sufficient signatures for their estimates of expenditure to be approved. Cde Ncube warned such local authorities.
“That erroneous form of administration must stop forthwith. My Ministry will ensure that routine monitoring exercises take on board matters relevant to citizen engagement and participation,” he said.
“I am confident that no Rural District Council shall be found wanting on this front”.
He said the 2017 budgets for local authorities’ must be crafted in a manner that fully addresses the aspirations , goals and objectives of Zim-Asset and the Ten Point Plan.
“My Ministry continues to impress upon Local Authorities to ensure that all budgets reflect the 30:70 recurrent to capital expenditure ratio without fail. This is intended to ensure that councils focus more on their core business of service delivery,” said Cde Ncube.
He said the 2017 budgets must take into account the importance of cultural and food security matters as well as commitments in gender issues.
The Principal Director in the Ministry of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage, Mr Christopher Shumba, said rural local authorities spend more money on salaries than on service delivery, a situation that must be urgently corrected.
The seminar, being attended by chief executive officers and finance officers drawn from the country’s 10 rural district councils, ends today.
Dr Misheck Sibanda